Life in the Movies

A few films have crossed paths with places that I have lived. Two of them are fairly famous. Why not write a post about these movies with the hope that I might find some relevance? Wish me luck, but be rest assured that if you have something better to do, you better go do it now. I’m only going to include the first film in this post and save the second for another day.

The first film is Groundhog Day which was filmed in 1992. Most of the core scenes were shot in Woodstock, Illinois in or near the town square. The square is famous within the county area for its rustic feeling due to its being built in the late 1800’s. In the center of the square is a monument to the soldiers of the Civil War. In the film, they actually managed to hide it from view during the groundhog ceremony. The streets enclosing the square are cobblestone and many of the buildings are original. The Opera House and Courthouse are the most obvious landmarks besides the monument itself.

Jumping from the Opera House

I remember watching this film for the first time and being shocked to recognize landmarks. I wasn’t quite sure until I noticed a “Woodstock Jewellers” sign in the background that it was Woodstock. I was having my own version of deja vu.

We lived in Woodstock from around 1973 to 1978. Before that we lived in nearby Crystal Lake in the heart of suburbia. I’ve been getting more nostalgic as I get older for the places of my childhood. What made Woodstock so good is that we owned 5 acres out in the country on Fleming Road. It was perfect for kids and it was so easy to go on adventures just in the backyard.

The film itself was quite impressive with its use of reliving the same day over and over again. I thought the concept was well developed and Bill Murray nailed the aspects of people who are always seeking things without having any idea of how to deal with what they have already.

There is quite a following of this film and even today you will hear people mention it in context to work. There is a contingent of people showing up in Punxsutawney, PA hoping to find elements of Woodstock, Illinois.

This is quote from the article last year in the Washington Post:
Groundhog's Day The Borough of Punxsutawney has been celebrating Groundhog Day since 1886. But it’s only since the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” that it has become Times Square for a day, attracting up to 35,000 people and emerging as the most famous town of its size since Mayberry.

Punxsutawney does have a dark secret, however. It is not, in fact, the small town from the movie that made it famous. That town is Woodstock, Ill., where “Groundhog Day” was filmed.

One of my favorite scenes is when Bill Murray steals the pickup truck and drives it to the quarry. He hijacks the groundhog and holds him up the the steering wheel as if he is driving. At one point he says “Don’t drive angry!” and for some reason that gets me almost every time.

Most people can relate to the feeling that we live the same day over and over again. That might explain why it is so popular and also has such staying power. If you read the article in Wikipedia about “Groundhog Day” you’ll get an idea of how influential this movie has been. Personally, I was surprised by how highly it was rated against other films of the last 20 years.

Personally, I find hope that there is a way out of the loop. In a way, “Groundhog Day” captured in part what life is about. You struggle, you fight, you plot, you wander, you steal (well hopefully not), you experiment, and you find a way out. If there is any point to this is that whatever you do not accept in life, there is a good chance that is the very thing you are supposed to be paying more attention to. Whatever you think you know, you must admit to yourself that you don’t always know what is best for yourself.

This post was saved from my other blog for Citrix.  It was really fun working on this one.  It quickly became one of my favorites.


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